Kemba Walker on shutting it down last season: It wasn’t a “difficult” decision

Kemba Walker on shutting it down last season: It wasn’t a “difficult” decision

DALLAS — Kemba Walker understood he had to make the decision to sit out last February in order to continue his NBA career. He left the Knicks to treat his ailing knee as he underwent surgery.

The Bronx-born, former UConn standout joined the Mavericks last month, following a salary-dump trade to the Pistons this summer and his subsequent release from the team. In his first five games with Dallas, Walker averaged 12.8 points and 23.8 minutes per contest.

During the Knicks’ 126-121 overtime defeat to the Mavericks, he scored one point in five minutes after missing the previous two games for knee maintenance.

“It wasn’t all that difficult, to be honest. Actually, it was a selfish move,” Walker said of his season-ending shutdown. “I was concerned with my own welfare. I wanted to succeed. At that time, I hardly played at all. So that just didn’t make sense

“To be honest, I just continued working. Working my rear end off to recover myself. These gentlemen called me. Consequently, this is really appreciated.”

The four-time All-Star, who signed a $16 million, two-year contract with the Knicks prior to last season, emphasized that he had “absolutely no hard feelings” and “no bad blood” toward the team.

“I grew up in New York. I will always cheer for my team. Walker, who recorded a triple-double for the Knicks in the Garden on December 25, 2021, stated, “There’s no ill blood at all.” “It meant a great deal. It was awesome. Particularly when they chanted my name in the Garden. That was an awesome sensation.

“I was born in and reared in New York City. Those are unforgettable moments that I will cherish for a very long time.”

Before the game, when asked about Walker, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau stated, “Look, I love Kemba. Kemba has been a superb league player for many years. Our sole concern with Kemba was his health. If Kemba is healthy, he is a nice person and a fantastic basketball player.

 

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